Nautilus

Welcome to the Unpredictable Era of Editing Human Embryos

Headlines and apocalyptic notions about designer babies proliferated last month after Chinese scientists published the results of a curious set of experiments on human embryos. The researchers were looking to understand whether gene-editing technology could correct, before birth, a malformed gene that can cause a potentially devastating blood disease. They found that the method introduced new errors and failed to fix the problem consistently within embryos, suggesting that both cures for genetic diseases and designer babies remain a ways off. But it did provide a moment to think about the unintentional experiments we will be running

You're reading a preview, sign up to read more.

More from Nautilus

Nautilus5 min readPolitics
The Psychology of Greta Thunberg’s Climate Activism: Identifying the ingredients of an effective argument.
In September 2019, Greta Thunberg, the Swedish teenage activist, excoriated world leaders for their ongoing failure to address the climate crisis. “You have stolen my dreams and my childhood with your empty words,” she said at one point during her sp
Nautilus8 min read
How to Predict Extreme Weather: Climate science is forging a more perfect union between humans and machines.
Thanks to advances in machine learning over the last two decades, it’s no longer in question whether humans can beat computers at games like chess; we’d have about as much chance winning a bench-press contest against a forklift. But ask the current c
Nautilus17 min read
The Day the Mesozoic Died: How the story of the dinosaurs’ demise was uncovered.
Built upon the slopes of Mount Ingino in Umbria, the ancient town of Gubbio boasts many well-preserved structures that document its glorious history. Founded by the Etruscans between the second and first centuries B.C., its Roman theater, Consuls Pal